WILMINGTON — The second annual Wilmington Boat Show will return to the Port City this week, bringing vendors from across the country to showcase the latest and greatest in boats and marine products.
Even if boats aren’t your thing, there’s still a wide selection of events happening on both sides of the river, promising “not just a show, but cool things to do and see” for the duration of the three day show.
The Wilmington Boat Show runs from Friday, Sept. 8 to Sunday, Sept. 10. However, there will be a special VIP “Preview and Party under the Stars” on Thursday evening, that will give attendees a “first glance” at the upcoming event.
Tickets for this VIP event are $60, and include two complimentary drink tickets, hors d’oeuvres, music and a complimentary ticket to return for Friday, Saturday, or Sunday’s show. The preview party will be hosted by Vida Cantina, with food catered by Blackfinn Ameripub.
‘Not just a show’
Friday at noon, the show kicks off in earnest, with the main event taking place in the Wilmington Convention Center and the Port City Marina.
The show will feature more than 85 different boat lines including skiffs, cruisers, sailboats, fishing boats and yachts. It will also feature a marine marketplace for water sports, gear, apparel and fishing accessories.
Wilmington Water Tours will be offering complimentary rides on the Cape Fear River, to ferry attendees between the Port City Marina, and the Battleship North Carolina where many of the events will be taking place.
First on the list of events is the arrival of eight time power boat racing World Champion Miss GEICO, the claim to fame for which is the “world’s fastest racing catamaran.” Miss GEICO is headquartered in Riviera Beach, Fla., but will be on display at the Battleship North Carolina from Friday through Sunday.
On the topic of power boat racing, master power boating instructor Captain Kevin Hennessey will be in attendance, hosting several seminars on power boating and sailing all three days of the event.
These “Power Boating” seminars will be held at 4 p.m., Friday, and 1 p.m. Saturday, with Basics of Sailing running Saturday at 11:30 a.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m., in the Convention Center Meeting Room 102.
Hennessey operates the Cape Fear Sailing Academy, as well as his “power boat training facility,” out of out of Southport, just down the Cape Fear River.
On Saturday and Sunday, the Wrightsville Beach Outrigger Canoe Club will be hosting several tournaments, designed to showcase the “unique challenge” of outrigger canoeing.
The teams will compete in a “traditional Hawaiian sprint race,” which consists of a quarter mile course involving one to three turns around buoys, with dozens of crews competing.
Races will be held Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 2 p.m.
For those interested in careers in the Marine fields, the Cape Fear Community College Boat Building School will be displaying its work Saturday and Sunday, giving attendees and inside look into the industry. Students enrolled in the program learn “all aspects of boat construction, from lofting to launching.”
The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries Education Team will be in attendance at the Battleship all three days of the event, educating recreational fisherman and the general public alike on the topics of sustainable fishing and protecting North Carolina’s natural resources.
If you plan on bringing your children out for the day, the Wilmington Boat Show will be hosting a series of kid-friendly events at the Battleship on Saturday and Sunday.
Captain Don Dingman will be providing instruction to get children into the sport of fishing. The classes are designed to teach children “how to catch anything a grownup can with the right tackle.” The classes will also focus on safety in addition to “the joys of fishing.”
Dingman’s classes will be held Saturday from 11:30 a.m., to 2:30 p.m., and Sunday from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Throughout the weekend, pirates Anne Bonny, Mary Read and Captain Jack Sparrow will be wandering the premises, offering photo opportunities, as well as a bit of goodhearted “pillaging, plundering, and perhaps a hijacking or two.”
There will be a “Kiddy Bounce House,” beginning at 10 a.m. both days, running until 6 p.m. Saturday, and 5 p.m. Sunday.
In addition to the bounce house, “Bubble and Barnacles” will be offering face painting from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m-4 p.m. Sunday.
The show is hosted by JBM & Associates, and will feature a demo dock for serious boat buyers, in addition to hundreds of vessels and gear for those passionate about life on the water to view.
Show hours vary, for a full schedule of events, as well as ticketing information, visit wilmingtonboatshow.com.